Written by ,
Read by Professor Robert Garland, Ph.D.
Format: MP3

Roughly 2,500 years ago, the Athenian people established a radical democracy in which power derived from the votes of ordinary citizens. At a time when local governments ranged from oligarchy to tyranny, the elite classes of Athens gradually ceded power to the inexperienced masses, whose votes served as referendums for everything from taxation to war to welfare. The sequence of events that led to this development is astonishing, and the society that flourished under Athenian democracy is one of the greatest—even if greatly flawed—achievements in world history.

The heart of Athenian democracy is the “demos,” the body of citizens who participated in public assemblies, made speeches, and voted on matters of law. Professor Garland tours the Athenian citizenry, from the elite archons (or magistrates), the aristocratic Areopagus, and the myriad interest groups who jockeyed for power. Citizenship was heavily rooted in public life, so the most prominent politicians were excellent public speakers. You’ll meet many of these leaders, including Solon, Cleisthenes, Pericles, and more, as Professor Garland takes you into their world and shows you the Athenians’ view of their great political experiment—and how contemporary historians such as Herodotus and Thucydides judged it.

As you will learn, Athenian democracy was not an unmitigated success. Episodes like the disastrous invasion of Sicily reveal democracy then was just as messy and provisional as democracy today. Furthermore, because only citizens were allowed to vote, Professor Garland examines to what degree we should even consider Athenian democracy representative of the population of Attica. Citizens were freeborn males older than age 20, and comprised only about a fifth of the population. Women, immigrants, and slaves could not participate in the democracy, and you’ll get valuable glimpses into their experience as well. Unprecedented, flawed, relevant to our time, and captivating in its own right, the story you will experience in Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages explores what is arguably the boldest political initiative ever taken in history.

Witness “the Powerful Hand of the People”

Representative democracy is a common form of government today, but the Athenian system is astonishing even to modern eyes, as it entrusted matters of state directly to ordinary, unqualified, and inexperienced citizens. And, unlike some of the more famous modern democratic experiments you may know, you will discover how the development of Athenian democracy was not the result of revolution, but a gradual process over many years. Professor Garland’s first stop is in the works of Homer. The Iliad and the Odyssey show a number of democratic-like assemblies circa 700 BC, demonstrating that the notion of citizen power was nothing new by the time radical democracy emerged in Athens around 460 BC.

After outlining democracy’s origins in ancient Greece, Professor Garland surveys the dramatic events that led Athens from an oligarchy to a true democracy. As you follow along, you will:

Learn about the archons, the Areopagus, the assembly, and the demos—all critical components for understanding Athenian democracy.
Explore the crisis of 594 BC and review Solon’s reforms, including critical changes to the legal code.
Witness the defeat of the Persians in the 5th century, which Professor Garland calls “Athens’s finest hour.”
Consider the “bloodless coup” in which the Athenians effectively created a radical democracy.
Reflect on the so-called “Age of Pericles” to find out whether it was a true democracy, or a disguised autocracy.
See how democracy fared during times of war and plague, and how the Athenians effectively created an empire to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbors.

Along the way, Professor Garland unpacks the inner workings of the government. He takes you inside the Assemblies, which required citizens to trek to Athens from all over Attica and which were filled with speeches, arguments, debates, and decision-making. In addition to the Assemblies, Athenians served on the Council and as magistrates, so participatory citizenship in Athens could feel like a full-time affair—a striking contrast to most democracies today. Because democracy is both a political and a legal process, you will also learn about the procedures of a trial, including jury selection, the role of the courts, and sentencing.

Gain a Unique Insight into a Familiar History

This course is not your ordinary history of ancient Greece. You may be familiar with the broad strokes of Athenian history, but Professor Garland’s unique perspective offers a wealth of insights into everything from taxation and welfare to military structure and strategy. You’ll go beyond the traditional “kings and battles” approach to history and gain a sense of what life was like for the people living in the democracy, as you:

Learn about the art of public speaking to find out what it took to get your voice heard at the assembly.
Reflect on the connection between politics and the theater, and the role of dramatists, such as Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes, in public life.
Visit the docks and shipyards to witness democracy in action “on the job” as the Athenians developed a shipping network and a naval empire that dominated the Aegean.
Meet the personalities who debated the hot topics of the day—and how at least one politico dismissed his opponents by calling their arguments, essentially, “fake news.”

Finally, Professor Garland gives great consideration to the many people in Athens who were not citizens and would, thus, not have been eligible to participate in the democracy. For instance, the Athenians relied heavily on slave labor. What was daily life like for Athenian slaves? Who were they? Where did they come from? And was slave labor the source of Athenian success? Can we really call the Athenian system a democracy?

Reflect on Democracy Today

The story of Athenian democracy is fascinating, but it’s also remarkably timely for us today, in our age of media personalities, political polarization, and extremism. Over the course of these lectures, one thing becomes clear: Democracy has always been a messy process, and not always successful.

Some of the most striking lectures show Athenian democracy under duress—whether from competing interest groups, negotiations among rival states, or wartime expeditions. One of the most powerful examples is the Sicilian expedition, an ill-advised military adventure that ended in disaster. Could it have been prevented? What role did democratic decision-making play in its failure?

Without casting political judgments on today, Professor Garland draws out many analogies between ancient Athens and modern times, unpacking the similarities as well as key differences. With these engaging lectures from a passionate professor, you’ll reflect on what lessons the Athenians can teach us today, and what they might make of our own democracy. Athenian Democracy: An Experiment for the Ages is perhaps the perfect history course to understand the present.

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Creation Date: Sat, 07 Jul 2018 00:58:04 -0400
This is a Multifile Torrent
01. Why Athenian Democracy Matters.mp3 16.46 MBs
02. The Origins of Greek Democracy.mp3 13.76 MBs
03. Solon - The Father of Democracy.mp3 15.05 MBs
04. Cleisthenes the Innovator.mp3 15.31 MBs
05. The Nearly Bloodless Coup.mp3 15.49 MBs
06. Democracy at War.mp3 14.79 MBs
07. The Popular Assembly.mp3 14.62 MBs
08. The Council and the Magistrates.mp3 15.1 MBs
09. The Citizens of Athens.mp3 15.66 MBs
10. “The Empire You Hold Is a Tyranny”.mp3 15.02 MBs
11. The Age of Pericles.mp3 13.65 MBs
12. Public Speaking in Athens.mp3 13.96 MBs
13. Pericles’s Funeral Speech.mp3 13.58 MBs
14. Democracy under Duress.mp3 13.31 MBs
15. The Culture of Athenian Democracy.mp3 14.09 MBs
16. Political Leadership in Athens.mp3 13.72 MBs
17. The Brutality of Athenian Democracy.mp3 15.18 MBs
18. Athenian Defeat in Sicily.mp3 15.03 MBs
19. Suspension, Restoration, and Termination.mp3 15.44 MBs
20. The Democratic Theater.mp3 14.64 MBs
21. Law and Order under Democracy.mp3 13.98 MBs
22. Ancient Critics of Athenian Democracy.mp3 13.64 MBs
23. Post-Athenian Democracies.mp3 13.54 MBs
24. Democracy Today, Democracy Tomorrow.mp3 14.6 MBs
Athenian Democracy - An Experiment for the Ages.pdf 12.36 MBs
Combined File Size: 361.98 MBs
Piece Size: 256 KBs
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